Rape convict who cleared IAS gets SC ‘relief’
New Delhi Over a year after the Delhi High Court overturned the life sentence of rape convict Ashok Rai after he cleared the Civil Services exams from prison, the Supreme Court on Friday decided not to “interfere” and the Delhi Police promptly waived its right to file an appeal.
Rai, who was sentenced to a life term for raping his tuition student, had won HC’s confidence after he cracked the UPSC. A Division Bench led by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog had on February 9, 2009, said his performance in the Civil Services exam was a sure sign that he had “redeemed himself”. Rai was released immediately from prison. He had, at the time, undergone just five-and-a-half years of his life sentence. His 25-year-old student ended her life in April 2003, leaving behind a suicide note explaining her relationship with him.
Considering that he had not even completed the minimum imprisonment of seven years for rape, the decision was challenged by the National Commission for Women (NCW) in the Supreme Court, which admitted the plea and issued notices to the Delhi Police.
Today, a Bench of Justices HS Bedi and C K Prasad went against the norm to dismiss the NCW appeal, forgoing the fact that it was already admitted and the notices served.
The Bench reasoned that the NCW had no right or locus standi as a “third party” to move an appeal in a criminal case. The apex court, however, slammed the HC for reducing Rai’s sentence just because he became the IAS. The Delhi Police, represented by Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, declined to file an appeal against the HC verdict.
“What about the life of the girl? Should every man sitting for IAS be acquitted even if he violates the dignity of a woman?” NCW’s counsel Priya Hingorani asked the court.